In this week’s national news and even local news it is hard to find hope. The Supreme Court of the United States has handed down a slew of decisions that threaten the values of our country and our faith: welcoming the stranger, feeding the hungry, loving our neighbor, etc. The NC General Assembly has been working tirelessly to limit North Carolinians’ right to vote by proposing amendments to the NC constitution to mandate voter ID laws and to change the way we elect judges to serve in the state’s supreme court. News like this has stirred many of my friends to recall a poem by Martin Niemöller, Firstthey came for… I have been most captured by this adaption from Rev. Traci Blackmon, Executive Minister of Justice & Local Church Ministries for The United Church of Christ.
First they came for the Black Lives Matter, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a part of Black Lives Matter.
Then they came for the Poor, and I did not speak out—Because I was not Poor.
Then they came for Women’s Rights, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Woman.
Then they came for LGBTQI [folks], and I did not speak out—Because I was not Queer.
Then they came for Black and Brown Immigrants, and I did not speak out—Because I was not an Immigrant.
Then they came for the Muslims, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Muslim.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
In this moment it is crucial for us to join together. We need space to collaborate and share radical organizing tools to reclaim a just and inclusive North Carolina. This statewide multi-movement gathering needs progressive thinkers — faith leaders, activists, organizers, artists, educators, and change-makers — to heal the personal and political wounds facing us today. We know that our future must center and be led by those most impacted in our community, those whose future we are uniting for.
I am excited to invite you to join Alex and me on July 14 for the Uniting for Our Future summit. The summit will provide opportunities for you to make connections and help increase our power across North Carolina. The day will be kicked off by Bree Newsome who will inspire and ground us in faith-rooted activism. Let’s be a network of people power to strengthen public education, advance ban the box efforts, increase immigration and sanctuary solidarity, and maintain a fair judiciary. Visit the Facebook event page to learn more about the summit!
Don’t delay, register now! This will be an amazing event!